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Another one bites the dust...

 
gardener
Posts: 836
Location: Piedmont 7a
297
hugelkultur trees woodworking
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I shared the sad story of my first apple tree casualty here: https://permies.com/t/113420/Man-assist-stat-apple-tree#1093208

Unfortunately, I recently lost another, same way. It had gotten quite wobbly this winter even before leafing out this spring, so I tried staking it, but could tell it would be a lost cause from the amount of movement. This one had not progressed nearly as well as the first one that toppled, but still, was disappointing to say the least to lose another after five years.  That’s two of the six!

Not how little roots there are on this five year old tree - I pulled it out with one hand.
221CEC68-D12B-4E7D-87E8-61C549A066D4.jpeg
Second man down
Second man down
EB2ABDE6-B026-4B13-9F3A-61FD63BAD820.jpeg
Before pulling out
Before pulling out
E024635D-3E23-4AFA-9B9E-5A4EC288D0E8.jpeg
Root ball
Root ball
 
Artie Scott
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Location: Piedmont 7a
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hugelkultur trees woodworking
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Here is their origin story. This was the Redfree heritage apple that went to apple tree heaven. https://permies.com/t/107852/Hugel-ish-Journey
 
pollinator
Posts: 1432
Location: Denmark 57N
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fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
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I lost one this year in the same way, it was a pot grown tree and I don't think the roots ever really made it "out" as it were.
 
Posts: 3
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Lost a peach last year. Had grown about 14ft tall in the prior 4 years and the just started dying through the summer. By fall it was dead. No external issues showing. I haven't pulled it out of the ground yet to see if something in the roots is a issue.
 
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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If it were on my property there would only be one culprit... gophers.
 
Artie Scott
gardener
Posts: 836
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hugelkultur trees woodworking
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Interesting Jackie - we have moles and woodchucks, but I don’t think we have gophers. Could be wrong on that  though.

I don’t think the woodchucks bothered the Apple trees, as I would be able to tell - they are large around here, and would leave clear indication. I have seen some mole tunnels near them, but I don’t think moles eats tree roots, although they might leave air pockets around them.
 
Jackie Dragon
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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You would likely know if you had gophers. You would see their tunnels and little mounds of dirt. Check the web for mole tunnels vs. gopher tunnels. Also, if a gopher gets to a tree and decides to munch, the transition from alive to dead can be fairly dramatic. A matter of days or a week for an immature tree. If it were a slow transition, like you said, over the summer, I would definitely excavate the tree and examine the roots before they gets integrated into the microbe world.

I've lost quite a few trees to gophers and finally resigned to using cages, which is not a perfect method but definitely reduces the chance of losing tree by 90%. (I've had some neighbors lose them even in cages.) In my area it's practically an epidemic.

But again, just one possibility.
 
pollinator
Posts: 204
Location: Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania
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I have many trees of similar age / size to this one (either bought from nurseries, or brought up from seeds / cuttings), and we often have very strong winds here - but I've never had any of them tipped over simply by the force of wind. (I've lost many, many trees to voles and chafer grubs - but that's a different story...)

For a young tree of this size, the roots look way too small, even if the tree was grafted on dwarfing stock. So I would try to look at nutrient deficiencies, water-logged soil, excessive compaction, and similar issues.

Alternatively, there may be small pests in the soil - similar to my chafer grubs, which eat the fibrous roots - that leave no immediately visible trace (even the absence of fibrous roots may sometimes go unnoticed).  For a possible diagnosis, you'll have to examine the soil beneath the expired tree.
 
scott carle
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I have a peach that was a put in at the same time as the one that died in another part of my yard that floods badly during hurricanes. It has a nectarine tree beside it  that was put in a few years after it. Both are about the same size now. Maybe 6 inches in diameter and 10 to 12 ft? A couple years ago during a hurricane the ground got really soft from the flooding and those two trees got blown over to about a 45 degree angle. Being the lazy person I am I didn't bother pulling them back up while the ground was still soft and staking them. Now they are funky leaning trees but both are just fine and healthy.
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